Decoding VET Funding Courses: RTO’s Comprehensive Guide to Becoming a Provider

VET funding takes a central role as a pivotal driver of accessibility and affordability of vocational education and training (VET) in Australia. This comprehensive guide aims to provide a thorough exploration of the landscape of VET funding, elucidating its significance, nuances, and the exciting opportunities it presents for your registered training organization (RTO).

Plus, effortlessly access our consolidated list of government-funded courses! Save time by entering your details below. We’ve curated this information from various state government websites and compiled it into a user-friendly, regularly updated spreadsheet for your convenience.

Access Our Complete Government-Subsidised Courses List For RTOs

Understanding VET Funding

The Australian government, alongside state governments, extends financial support for courses geared towards equipping students with skills and qualifications essential for sought-after jobs and careers. These initiatives come in three forms: fee-free courses, lower-fee courses, and government-subsidized courses.

Fee-Free Courses

Fee-free courses are fully subsidised by the government, relieving learners of any tuition fees as the government covers the entire cost to the provider. This funding is typically directed towards priority courses aligned with the skills crucial for the economy and society. In Victoria, eligible students can access fee-free courses through the Free TAFE for Priority Courses initiative.

Lower-Fees Courses

Lower fee-courses provide a fantastic opportunity for students to acquire essential skills needed in high-demand industries without straining their finances. Thanks to this program, learners can attain a nationally recognized and accredited qualification by paying only up to half of the regular course fees. These budget-friendly courses are offered through TAFE colleges and specific registered training providers (RTOs), ensuring accessibility across various states like Western Australia. It’s a cost-effective pathway to valuable qualifications.

Government-Subsidised Courses

Government-subsidised courses receive partial financial backing from the government. This implies that students pay a reduced fee for the course, with the government covering the remaining cost to the provider. The extent of the subsidy and fee reduction can fluctuate based on factors such as state jurisdiction, qualification level, learner status, and the provider. For instance, in New South Wales, eligible students can access low-fee courses through the Smart and Skilled program.

Why You Should Embrace VET Funding Opportunities

While it might appear that these financial assistance programs mainly benefit students, they also create opportunities for your Registered Training Organisation (RTO), including:

Diversified Course Offerings

Diversify your RTO by adding VET funding-supported courses. It broadens your reach, serving a more diverse audience in areas like hospitality, healthcare, or construction, meeting the varied needs of potential students.

Increased Enrolments

VET funding-supported courses are popular for their affordability. In 2022, 1,196,535 learners enrolled in government-funded VET courses according to an NCVER report. This influx of enrolees boosted RTO revenue and reputation. More students mean more positive community impact.

Community Impact

RTOs uplift communities through education. Offering VET funding-supported courses turns you into a catalyst for local skills development. Your efforts enable individuals to gain valuable qualifications, empowering them for fulfilling careers and meaningful contributions to society.

Additional Funding

Participating in VET funding programs is a win-win. Beyond expanding courses and increasing enrolments, these programs provide vital financial support to RTOs. This ensures resources for maintaining top-quality training standards, improving facilities, updating materials, and enhancing the overall student learning experience.

Navigating State-Specific VET Funding: A Roadmap for RTOs

Australia is committed to a skilled workforce through state-specific VET funding programs, ensuring nationwide access to affordable, high-quality education and training. The next section delves into the details of these initiatives, covering their purpose, eligibility criteria, and application processes.

1. New South Wales – Smart and Skilled

In New South Wales, the Smart and Skilled program provides VET funding, enabling learners to access training for in-demand skills and industries without incurring training costs.

Status: Closed

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for Smart and Skilled VET funding, your RTO must:

  • Be registered with ASQA or VRQA.
  • Maintain current registration covering the entire Smart and Skilled activity period.
  • Receive a ‘satisfactory’ or ‘not rated’ financial viability risk assessment from ASQA or VRQA.
  • Demonstrate compliance with the Standards for RTOs 2015.
  • Adhere strictly to Smart and Skilled operating guidelines.

Application Process

If your RTO meets the eligibility criteria:

  1. Create a Digital Identity (e.g., myGovID) and link it to your organization using Relationship Authorization Manager (RAM).
  2. Complete the online application form on the Smart and Skilled portal, uploading required documents by the specified deadline.
  3. The Department of Education will assess the application and notify your RTO of the outcome.
  4. If successful, your RTO will be offered a Smart and Skilled contract, allowing you to deliver NSW government-funded qualifications on the NSW List.

Victoria – Skills First

In Victoria, Skills First takes the lead in VET funding, emphasizing student choice and quality training delivery. This program addresses skills shortages, advocates for lifelong learning, and fuels economic growth in the state.

Status: Open for Applications

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for Skills First VET funding, your RTO must:

  • Be registered with ASQA and VRQA.
  • Maintain current registration covering the entire contract term.
  • Hold a valid Australian Business Number (ABN) and be GST registered.
  • Demonstrate a history of high-quality training aligned with student, industry, and employer needs.
  • Comply with the Standards for RTOs 2015 and Victorian standards and guidelines.
  • Possess a sound financial position, demonstrating financial viability and sustainability.

Application Process

If your RTO meets the eligibility criteria:

  1. Complete and submit an online Expression of Interest (EOI) through the Skills Victoria Training System (SVTS) portal by the specified closing date.
  2. Attach all required supporting documents to the EOI form, including financial statements, audit reports, quality indicators, workforce development plan, student recruitment strategy, etc.
  3. Undergo a pre-qualification assessment by the Department of Education and Training (DET) to verify eligibility.
  4. Participate in a face-to-face interview with DET representatives.
  5. Receive a notification from DET regarding the EOI outcome, indicating if you can enter a Skills First contract.
  6. If successful, sign and return the Skills First contract and other relevant documents to DET.

Queensland – Skills Assure Supplier

In Queensland, the Skills Assure Supplier (SAS) program funds apprenticeship and traineeship training, empowering eligible individuals to choose their preferred RTO. This strategic initiative promotes workforce development and tackles skills shortages in the state.

Status: On Hold

Eligibility Criteria

To qualify for Skills Assure Supplier VET funding, your RTO must:

  • Be registered with ASQA or the Queensland Curriculum and Assessment Authority (QCAA) as a non-school RTO.
  • Maintain a current registration period of at least 12 months.
  • Have a head office or a delivery site in Queensland.
  • Demonstrate a history of delivering quality training and assessment services.
  • Possess a low or medium financial viability risk rating.
  • Have no sanctions or restrictions imposed by ASQA or QCAA.
  • Have no outstanding debts or disputes with the department or other government agencies.
  • Meet any additional requirements specified in the relevant funding program policy.

Application Process

If your RTO is eligible:

  1. Complete and submit a SAS application for the targeted funding program.
  2. Provide evidence of organizational capability, financial viability, quality and compliance, and industry engagement.
  3. Agree to the terms and conditions of the SAS agreement and the relevant funding program policy.
  4. Undergo a pre-qualification audit by the department if required.
  5. Pay the applicable audit fees if required.

South Australia – Skills for All

Skills for All in South Australia is a government initiative aiming to enhance opportunities for people to access and complete vocational education and training, fostering skill development for employment and career progression.

Status: Open for Applications

Eligibility Criteria

For Skills for All VET funding, your RTO must:

  • Be registered with ASQA and comply with the VET Quality Framework.
  • Hold a contract with the Department for Innovation and Skills to deliver Skills for All courses.
  • Adhere to Skills for All operational guidelines and reporting requirements.
  • Provide quality training and assessment meeting the needs of learners and employers. ü Utilize the Skills SA Check Provider Eligibility Tool.

Application Process

If your RTO meets the eligibility criteria:

  1. Prepare and submit your RTO application to ASQA.
  2. Fulfill financial viability, fit and proper person, and legal entity requirements.
  3. Provide evidence of compliance with the Standards for RTOs 2015.
  4. Receive a positive registration outcome from ASQA.
  5. Apply for a contract with the Department for Innovation and Skills to deliver Skills for All courses.

Western Australia – Jobs and Skills WA

Jobs and Skills WA is a program providing eligible Western Australians access to quality training aligned with employer and industry needs. The program also supports registered training organizations (RTOs) in delivering training that addresses the requirements of students, industry, and the community.

Status: Open for Applications

Eligibility Criteria

For Jobs and Skills WA VET funding, your RTO must:

  • Be registered with the Training Accreditation Council (TAC) or ASQA and hold a current contract with the Department of Training and Workforce Development.
  • Comply with the quality framework for publicly funded private RTOs, outlining expectations and obligations in terms of training delivery, assessment, work readiness, engagement, oversight, and compliance.
  • Apply for and gain approval to deliver qualifications or skill sets from the priority industry qualifications list or the general industry training list, updated annually based on industry advice and labour market demand.
  • Demonstrate capacity, capability, and resources to deliver quality training meeting RTO standards, training package requirements, and the needs of students and employers.
  • Engage with industry and employers to ensure training relevance, currency, and alignment with workforce development priorities.

Application Process

If your RTO is eligible:

  1. Submit an online Expression of Interest (EOI) through the Department of Training and Workforce Development, indicating the desired qualifications or skill sets and providing evidence of industry support and demand.
  2. If the EOI is successful, the RTO will be invited to submit a full application through the Department’s online portal, detailing capacity, capability, resources, delivery strategies, assessment methods, and quality assurance processes.
  3. The Department will assess the application, conduct a site visit to verify compliance, and may consult with industry stakeholders for validation.
  4. The Department notifies the RTO of the application outcome and issues a contract variation if approved, specifying funding terms, delivery scope, performance indicators, and reporting requirements.

Tasmania – Skills Tasmania

Skills Tasmania, the government agency overseeing vocational education and training in Tasmania, requires RTO endorsement for those seeking Tasmanian Government funding to provide subsidized training.

Status: Open for Applications

Eligibility Criteria

For Skills Tasmania VET funding, your RTO must:

  • Be registered with ASQA and scoped to deliver training in Tasmania.
  • Maintain a current and satisfactory compliance history with ASQA and Skills Tasmania.
  • Demonstrate the capacity to deliver quality training outcomes for learners and employers in Tasmania.
  • Have a minimum of two years of continuous operation as an RTO in Australia.
  • Report a minimum of 50 enrolments in nationally recognized training in Tasmania in the previous 12 months.
  • Provide a minimum of 10 employer or industry references supporting the quality and relevance of the RTO’s training in Tasmania.

Application Process

If your RTO is eligible:

  1. Review the Endorsed RTO (ERTO) Guidelines detailing eligibility, selection criteria, endorsement process, and terms and conditions for accessing Tasmanian Government funding programs.
  2. Complete the ERTO Application Form, attaching required supporting documents like your RTO’s quality assurance plan, financial viability report, and employer or industry references.
  3. Email the completed application and supporting documents to rtoendorsement@skills.tas.gov.au.
  4. Skills Tasmania will assess the application against eligibility and selection criteria, notifying your RTO of the outcome within 20 working days.
  5. If successful, your RTO will be issued a Skills Tasmania Grant Agreement and Standard Conditions Manual, outlining terms and conditions for accessing Tasmanian Government funding programs.
  6. Sign and return the Grant Agreement to Skills Tasmania within 10 working days to finalize the endorsement process.
  7. Your RTO will be added to the Endorsed RTO List, becoming eligible to apply for subsidies through Tasmanian Government grant programs.

Australian Capital Territory – Skills Canberra

Skills Canberra, the primary agency in the Australian Capital Territory, spearheads VET funding programs like User Choice and Skilled Capital. The aim is to provide and manage subsidized training for eligible students, with User Choice funding contributing to the cost of Australian Apprenticeships and Skilled Capital offering subsidies for specific skill sets and qualifications from certificate II to diplomas.

Status: Closed

Eligibility Criteria

For Skills Canberra VET funding, your RTO must:

Application Process

If your RTO is eligible:

  1. Complete and submit a SmartForm through the ACT Vocational Education and Training Administration Records System (AVETARS).
  2. Undergo a financial viability assessment with the Independent Financial Assessor, Corporate Scorecard.
  3. For Skilled Capital Funding, RTOs need to fill up the Expression of Interest Response Form and email it to Skills Canberra.
  4. RTOs applying for User Choice must complete the RTO nomination form.

Northern Territory – User Choice

The User Choice Funding Program in the Northern Territory (NT) aims to enhance the vocational education and training sector’s responsiveness to client needs. This is achieved by fostering a direct and market-driven relationship between individual public and private training providers and clients.

Status: Closed

Eligibility Criteria

For User Choice VET funding, your RTO must:

  • Be registered with ASQA under the National Vocational Education and Training Regulator Act 2011, or
  • Be registered by the regulator in their jurisdiction following relevant vocational education and training regulatory legislation in that jurisdiction.
  • Hold an approved scope of registration to deliver the training package qualification for the relevant apprenticeship or traineeship listed in the NT apprenticeships and traineeships database.
  • Be listed as a provider on the NT apprenticeships and traineeships database.

Application Process

If your RTO is eligible:

  1. Apply for funding through the Department of Industry, Tourism, and Trade.
  2. After approval, your RTO will be offered a training contract.
  3. Maintain your RTO status and comply with the department’s policies, procedures, and reporting timelines.

Important Reminder

Keep in mind that eligibility criteria and application processes for state-specific funding programs may change. It’s crucial to regularly check the relevant government websites for updates and ensure that you meet all the requirements to successfully participate in these programs. Stay informed to make the most of available opportunities for your registered training organization.


VET funding is not just about education; it’s about shaping a skilled and thriving workforce. For RTOs like yours, it represents a world of opportunities, from expanding your course offerings to experiencing increased enrolments and positively impacting your communities. Dive into VET funding with confidence, knowing that you’re educating and shaping Australia’s workforce’s future.

Skip the nuisance of searching multiple government sites for subsidised courses. Simplify your journey with our meticulously curated VET funding list. Updated regularly, it saves you time and effort. Complete the form now for instant access.

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